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Every Agent Has a Story: Dave Skow

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This story comes from Dave Skow of Wagga Property Management, who shares the key lessons he learned during a property appraisal.

  • Avoid passing judgment on your landlords/tenants without understanding the circumstances they’re in.
  • Generosity has the power to create lasting positive change to a person’s lifestyle.

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Hi, I’m Dave Skow from Wagga Property Management, and this is my favourite story from my 17-year real estate career.

It only happened a couple of years ago actually, where I had a phone call from a prospective landlord saying we’ve just purchased a new investment property.

“My elderly mother has actually just purchased a new investment property. And we’ve been given your name and number and told to call you, because you can manage it for us.”

So, we made an appointment to measure the property, and I had a look through, and gave them an idea on what I thought it was worth price wise.

And the elderly owner pulled me up, and said, “Oh look we’ve actually found our own tenant. And we’ve decided that instead of charging her your appraisal price which is 390 odd dollars a week, We’re going to lease it to her for 230 dollars a week.”

And I thought [that] this is a bit odd. I don’t really understand why you would purchase an investment property, particularly as an older owner, to only rent it out for less than half, or about half of what it might be worth on the open market.

She bought the property because her house cleaner, who was an African migrant [and] had been a migrant for a couple of years, had been having a lot of trouble where she was living. She was living in a really average part of Wagga, paying 230 dollars a week quite comfortably, and had never missed a beat. But had been broken into a couple of times in recent weeks.

Pat, the owner, just couldn’t stand for that. She decided that in her heart of hearts, she would buy her a property that she could afford, and in a much better area of town. A much bigger home that would accommodate her and her children. At the same rate that she was paying in the ex-housing commission house that she was living in.

Not only that, when I got talking to the tenant, she had come to Australia, and come to Wagga as a migrant from a war torn African country, and hadn’t seen her husband for about ten years, and thought that he was dead. And assumed that he had been captured by the militia and killed like so many of her friends and family and other relatives had been.

With the help of Pat and her family, and the Multicultural Council in Wagga, she was able to put the word out by social media about her husband, and they were reconnected. Just after she was approved for this house. And it gives me goosebumps still to this day that he had actually not been killed, and he was held captive for a number of years, and had just been released.

And they now live together in this house for 230 dollars a week. While it’s worth 400 dollars a week in Wagga. All thanks to the generosity of our own Pat.

We come across so many owners that are tight, and don’t spend money on repairs, or have a conniption when they find out that there’s been a cat inside that they didn’t know about. So, initially when I heard that Pat only wanted 230 dollars a week for this house, I thought she was mad, I thought she was this old demented lady who didn’t know what she was doing.

And it was until we found out the reasons behind that I really thought to myself I shouldn’t have judged that. I shouldn’t have thought, you don’t understand what you’re doing old lady. She actually had a heart of gold, and the real reason as to why she wanted to help.

Same with the tenant, if I came across her coming from a 230 dollar a week house, I probably would’ve thought, Well, look, this is all you can afford, and this is your lot in life unfortunately. But then to hear her backstory really was moving.

It just goes to show that we really can’t take anything for granted. We certainly can’t judge anyone, landlord or tenant, before we know the full depths, or the background of the story.

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